12. Ἡρακλέος, θυμίαμα λίβανον.
To Herakles, God of Time
Divine medium: libanon (frankincense)
Ἥρακλες ὀμβριμόθυμε, μεγασθενές, ἄλκιμε Τιτάν,
Herakles, mighty, impassioned, powerful, courageous Titan,
καρτερόχειρ, ἀδάμαστε, βρύων ἄθλοισι κραταιοῖς,
Strong-armed, indominatable, teeming athletic power,
αἰολόμορφε, χρόνου πάτερ, ἀίδιέ τε ἐύφρων,
Eternally changing father Time, eternal wisdom,
ἄρρητ', ἀγριόθυμε, πολύλλιτε, παντοδυνάστα,
Inexplicable untamed spirit, much entreatied, all-dynastic,
παγκρατὲς ἦτορ ἔχων, κάρτος μέγα, τοξότα, μάντι,
All-powerful heart, foundational power, majestic archer of inspiration,
παμφάγε, παγγενέτωρ, πανυπέρτατε, πᾶσιν ἀρωγέ,
All-slayer, all-parent, all-reigning, all-serving,
ὃς θνητοῖς κατέπαυσας ἀνήμερα φῦλα διώξας,
Arresting death, fulfilling fate, tribally impelled,
εἰρήνην ποθέων κουροτρόφον, ἀγλαότιμον,
Eirene’s peace desiring, child-nurturer, gloriously honored,
αὐτοφυής, ἀκάμας, γαίης βλάστημα φέριστον,
Singular in nature, unbending, Gaia’s offshoot born,
πρωτογόνοις στράψας βολίσιν, μεγαλώνυμε Παιών,
Protogonos twister, launching, mighty-named Savior,
ὃς περὶ κρατὶ φορεῖς ἠῶ καὶ νύκτα μέλαιναν,
All-encompassing power bearing both Eos light and Night’s darkness,
δώδεκ' ἀπ' ἀντολιῶν ἄχρι δυσμῶν ἆθλα διέρπων,
Twelve spring from the east uttermost, setting westward the battle and completing the course,
ἀθάνατοις, πολύπειρος, ἀπείριτος, ἀστυφέλικτος·
Immortals of many trials, impervious, unbludgeoned.
ἐλθέ, μάκαρ, νούσων θελκτήρια πάντα κομίζων,
Come with blessings incline toward soothing all life’s cares,
ἐξέλασον δὲ κακὰς ἄτας κλάδον ἐν χερὶ πάλλων,
Expel the evil, the ruinous, club in hand brandish,
πτηνοῖς τ' ἰοβόλοις κῆρας χαλεπὰς ἀπόπεμπε.
Let fly poison arrows at cruel death from your hand.
Herakles (Roman: Hercules) (Ἡρακλῆς, Ἡρακλέης, Ἡρακλῆος, Ἡρακλέος, Ἡρακλέϝης, Ἡρακλέεος, Ἡρακλέους, Ἡρακλέει, Ἡρακλέᾱ) was a strong, athletic, courageous figure celebrated in Greece, Rome, Egypt, Anatolia (Turkey), Libya, Phoenicia (Israel/Palestine), and among the Celts and Germanic people for his feats of superhuman strength and bravery. His name can be translated as Hera’s (Ἡρα) + key/lock (κλέη).
Among other accomplishments, the hero Herakles completed 12 labors.
The Greek Herakles is the son of Zeus, the God of lightning/spark of life, and the mortal Alkmene (Ἀλκμήνη, Ἀλκμάνα), whose name means courage, might (ἄλκῐμος). Zeus is an Olympian God, but Zeus’ father, Kronos, is a Titan.
This hymn is not about the hero named Herakles, however, it is about the Orphic God named Herakles who is equated with Kronos, the God of time.
According to the Orphic tradition, in the beginning water formed mud which produced a fantastic multi-headed creature by the name of Kronos or Herakles who generated an egg which burst apart to form the sky and earth and everything else.
“For, according to [Orpheus], water was the beginning of all things, and from water mud was formed, and from both was produced an animal, a dragon with the head of a lion growing to it, and between the two heads there was the face of a [G]od, named Heracles and Kronos.
“This Heracles generated an egg of enormous size, which, on becoming full, was, by the powerful friction of its generator, burst into two, the part at the top receiving the form of heaven (οὐρανός [Ouranos]), and the lower part that of earth (γῆ [Ge]).”
Another similar creation story holds that Heracles (Time) united with Necessity as the generating cause of all things. It is interesting to note that a creation story where time and necessity create all things is consistent with Darwin’s theory of evolution:
“The theology according to Hieronymus or Hellanicus, even if the latter is not the same personage, is as follows. In the beginning, he says, there were water and matter, from which earth was coagulated, and these he establishes as the first two principles, water and earth… But as for the third principle after the two, it arose from these, I mean from water and earth, and it is a serpent with the heads of a lion and a bull grown upon it, and in the middle the countenance of a [G]od, and it has wings on its shoulders, and the same [G]od is called Ageless Time, and Heracles.
“And Necessity is united with it, which is the same nature as Adrasteia, stretching the arms of its bimorph body throughout the entire cosmos, touching the very boundaries of it. I think that this is said to be the third principle that functions as their substance, except that they represent it as male-female in order to show that it is the generating cause of all things.”
Eirene is the immortal Goddess of peace.
Gaia is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.
Protogonos is Phanes, characterized as a bi-gender “first-born” egg.
Eos is the immortal Goddess of dawn.
Night is the immortal Goddess of night.
“Twelve spring from the east” is a reference to the the Twelve signs of the zodiac which arise on the eastern horizon and set on the western horizon, each occupying the sky for approximately 30 days and comprising a 360 circle, accounting for the 365 (360 + five) days and twelve months of the year.
 Orphica, Theogonies Fragment 54 (from Damascius) and Orphica, Theogonies Fragment 57 (from Athenogoras).
 Athenagoras A Plea for the Christians Chapter 18, (trans. by Rev. B.P. Pratten.] (Vol. II. Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, 10 vols., edited by A. Cleveland Coxe (1885. http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/002/0020188.htm
 Translation of Damascius’ Problems and Solutions Concerning First Pinciples, trans. by Sara Ahbel-Rappe 123.2, (Oxford University Press, New York 2010 https://books.google.com/books?id=ovjUC1em8SgC&pg=PR2&lpg=PR2&dq=buy+translation+of+damascius+problems+and+solutions+sara+ahbel-rappe&source=bl&ots=WqiQMAJaOY&sig=Oo4ZV1Mq8MCOOX_BEqAyUyg74JA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDQQ6AEwBWoVChMIr4CopK2IyAIVR56ACh1loQfN#v=onepage&q=%20heracles&f=false